Jakob Nielsen, once described by The New York Times as the “guru of Web page usability,” has conducted a study on iPad and Kindle reading speeds based on a sample of 24 users who were asked to eyeball some Ernest Hemingway short stories, “because his work is pleasant and engaging to read, and yet not so complicated that it would be above the heads of users.”
The iPad measured at 6.2% lower reading speed than the printed book, whereas the Kindle measured at 10.7% slower than print. However, the difference between the two devices was not statistically significant because of the data’s fairly high variability.
Thus, the only fair conclusion is that we can’t say for sure which device offers the fastest reading speed. In any case, the difference would be so small that it wouldn’t be a reason to buy one over the other.
But we can say that tablets still haven’t beaten the printed book: the difference between Kindle and the book was significant at the p<.01 level, and the difference between iPad and the book was marginally significant at p=.06.
On the other hand, people like reading things on the iPad and Kindle a lot more than they do on computers:
After using each device, we asked users to rate their satisfaction on a 1–7 scale, with 7 being the best score.
iPad, Kindle, and the printed book all scored fairly high at 5.8, 5.7, and 5.6, respectively. The PC, however, scored an abysmal 3.6.
Check out the study here.
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